Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2015 Week 04 Hansard (Thursday, 26 March 2015) . . Page.. 1202 ..
There are big issues in the way the changing world affects our club machine. Indeed, poker machines and gambling technologies are changing constantly. How do we use those for good and not for evil? How do we use them for enjoyment and not to hurt people?
Water and resource management—how do we make our clubs more environmentally friendly? At the same time, at a time of rising obesity, how do we keep people out on the greens when the cost of water becomes so prohibitive that clubs have to toss up whether they can afford to water their courses? Do they keep the putting greens going while the fairways suffer? These are big issues, all of which are important and all of which have to be looked at. Plus there are many more—individual clubs will have site-specific or club-specific issues.
The motion says the Assembly should resolve that a select committee be established. This is a big issue and worthy of a select committee. The government thought that the issue of poker machine regulation only was worthy of a select committee but all of these issues are not. That is okay; perhaps PAC is where it should have gone in the first place.
Mr Rattenbury has an interest in these matters. Initially, in discussions, I had said two Liberal, two Labor and perhaps a Green. He thought we might go down to one of each. If I have read the amendment right, we might have PAC with a twist, and we will see how that works. My motion says the committee should be chaired by a member of the opposition. The untenable position the Labor Party has in being the direct recipient of the bounty of the clubs, we believe, is a conflict of interest, one which, of course, they deny.
This will be a big issue. My motion suggests the last sitting day; the government has brought it forward slightly to November, and we will address that as the debate continues. (Time expired.)
MS BURCH (Brindabella—Minister for Education and Training, Minister for Police and Emergency Services, Minister for Disability, Minister for Racing and Gaming and Minister for the Arts) (11.42): I too recognise, as I have always said in this place, that the value community clubs provide to the wider Canberra community is significant and ought to be celebrated here and across the community. I have made a slight change to the original amendment that I circulated. I move the following amendment that has been circulated in my name:
Omit all words after “That this Assembly”, substitute:
“(1) notes the ongoing value community clubs provide to the wider Canberra community; and
(a) the need to secure the long-term financial viability of the community clubs sector to ensure this contribution to the economic and social wellbeing of Canberra continues;
(b) the need for community clubs to diversify their business models away from reliance on gaming revenue;